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Hampstead Elementary named among 6 Maryland public schools to receive national honor as Blue Ribbon School

About nine months ago, Hampstead Elementary School became the first Maryland Blue Ribbon School from Carroll County in six years.

The school recently received an even more prestigious honor, being recognized as a National Blue Ribbon School.

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The recognition is based on a school’s overall academic performance or progress in closing achievement gaps among student subgroups, according to a Thursday news release from Carroll County Public Schools. Now in its 38th year, the National Blue Ribbon Schools Program has bestowed almost 10,000 awards to more than 9,000 schools.

The last school from Carroll County to win National Blue Ribbon School recognition was Century High School in 2013, according to a CCPS spokesperson.

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“We are extremely proud of Hampstead Elementary School,” Superintendent Steven Lockard was quoted as saying. “Being named a National Blue Ribbon School affirms the combined work of the students, staff, families, and the community in creating an outstanding, welcoming school where students are learning and thriving.”

According to the release, the U.S. Education Department recognizes all schools in one of two performance categories, based on all student scores, student subgroup scores and graduation rates:

  • Exemplary High Performing Schools: These are among their state’s highest performing schools as measured by state assessments or nationally normed tests.
  • Exemplary Achievement Gap Closing Schools: These are among their state’s highest performing in closing achievement gaps between a school’s student groups and all students.

Hampstead was honored as an Exemplary High Performing School, the release reads, noting that the school places in at least the top 15% of all schools in Maryland based on state assessment scores in math and English language arts, or ELA.

Ten Maryland schools earned the honor, including six public schools. In addition to Hampstead Elementary, the other public schools in the state winning National Blue Ribbon recognition were: Jacksonville Elementary in Baltimore County, Lucy V. Barnsley Elementary in Montgomery County, Bayside Elementary in Queen Anne’s County, Cash Valley Elementary in Allegany County and Mount View Middle in Howard County.

Hampstead Elementary has some 400 students and 100 staff members, according to the CCPS release, and offers kindergarten through fifth grade as well as three regional programs for special education — the Preschool Regional Early Childhood Program (PREP), Autism, and Learning for Independence (LFI).

Principal Arlene Moore told the Times in December, after the state recognition was announced, that the school follows the motto “All means all,” meaning that no matter a student’s disability, where they come from or what they look like, it is the job of the educators to help them succeed.

“We’re one of the smallest schools in Carroll County right now, with 400 students, but our teachers work very hard,” she said at the time.

For the past six years, Hampstead has shown continuous progress in its academic performance on the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) assessment, according to the release.

The 2020 National Blue Ribbon Schools Awards Ceremony will be held virtually Nov. 12 and 13. Each of the the 317 public and 50 non-public school honorees will be mailed their plaques and flags.

Baltimore Sun reporter Liz Bowie contributed to this story.

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